A Character from a Thomas Mann Novel 

Today, I managed to get up earlier than usual, so after making myself breakfast and taking a shower, I was able to feel like I was "up" for the day. There is a kind of lethargy that overtakes me after I eat breakfast: definitely a bad habit that I need to break. I resisted the urge to go back to bed.

The major accomplishment of today was getting ready for the new round of classes on Monday. This is going to be a career change, somewhat unwanted, that has all of the attendant fears and regrets that go along with an unwanted career change.

Let me explain a little bit. Last night, I watched a long PBS documentary about Andy Warhol. I liked it, but I really got involved with the description of Valerie Solanas' near fatal shooting of Andy shortly after his Silver Factory days (1968). I had watched the movie I Shot Andy Warhol on television awhile ago, and consequently I was sort of interested in the whole shooting episode, looking forward to a more documentary and less narrativizing approach. (The movie was good on its own terms, but I don't think it really portrayed the extent of Solanas' mental illness.) In any event, the documentary made a point to note how even though Warhol's near death had a brutal and devastating impact on him, he pressed forward with his art anyway. It appeared to be the only thing that he could do. To me, it seemed he had a simple choice after surviving the gunshot wounds: to either accept death and die quietly at home or to go forward and live life the only way he knew how. My circumstances are nowhere near as dramatic, but I have definitely felt a tremendous emotional impact (read: grief) over my late problems. But, the lesson here is that even in the worst moments of life, there is only really one choice: to let life's setbacks smash you in the face and stop you cold or to continue to move forward as best you can. Dogged determination to take tentative steps forward and another and then another even though you feel you're steadily losing ground. I am taking these kind of steps forward, even though I would prefer the impossible: to somehow go back in time and fix my earlier problems and lessen their impact. (Actually, as time does go forward, I am feeling less intense regret about the loss of my previous career path and more mild sadness. Thoughts of time travel occur with much less frequency.)

So, I went to campus to made the usual pre-class rituals--buy books, pay for classes, pay for the parking permit, etc. After several years of school, I'm no longer anxious about the first day like I used to be. In fact, standing in all of the usual lines which go with the college experience, I'm beginning to feel somewhat old. A few years ago, I could pretend I was just an old pro in the student world, but now I'm starting to feel vaguely ridiculous. Most of the other "students" are now nearly half my age. Despite this, I am hoping to do well in the upcoming term. I have a perfectionist streak and a bucket full of good intentions that sometimes make it difficult to not crack under pressure. The grand total of these college expenses are approximately $625, all of which is now on my new credit card. Monday is the first day. The first day of which I hope is the start of a new career path.

22 September 2006
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